Last week I was chatting to my sister, Susie, about our childhood memories of game-playing and she started chuckling when remembering the games we used to play when on car journeys. One of our favourite games was Legs. To play Legs you need to avoid the motorway and other major roads. Take the scenic route and see how many pubs you can go past. Starting with the youngest, each time you go past a pub, you score the number of legs associated with the pub name. For example, The Green Man would score 2 points, but The Black Horse would score 4.
No points are scored for The Queens Head or The Kings Arms – no points for heads and arms, just legs. If you get a pub name where the total number of legs is unclear – e.g. The Coach and Horses – refer to the picture on the pub sign to see how many horses appear. If you are still none the wiser, take the smallest number of legs possible – 8, in this case (2 horses). This way, you may get different points for pubs of the same name. The Cricketers in Sarratt only shows one Cricketer on the sign, but the name is plural so gives you 4 points. The Cricketers in Horsell shows four cricketers on the sign, so is worth 8 points. You score no extra points for legs that appear or are implied on the sign, but aren’t referred to in the name. For example, if The Hen and Chickens also has a pig on the sign, no points are counted for the pig!
Dad used to speak of a mythical pub called The Army of Centipedes, which we searched for for years, but sadly never discovered. Since becoming a parent, my own children have tested various adaptions to the game, including negative points for footwear that doesn’t include feet… The Boot would give you -1 point. There has been some discussion about The Three Horseshoes near High Wycombe, which someone usually argues is footwear to force an opponent to lose points.
Susie also reminded me of a game I’d totally forgotten we played. Ten Cars involves estimating how long it would be before we had overtaken 10 cars. Dad would encourage us to assess the volume of traffic, the speed restrictions and the bendiness of the road before submitting our calculations. Then we’d start timing. Overtaking lorries or motorbikes didn’t count: they had to be cars. Whoever was closest to the actual time, was the winner.
It took us some time to realise that Dad, who usually drove, was able to control both of these games. He would speed up, slow down and choose when to overtake to easily win Ten Cars. Legs would be won by planning the route to pass the pubs with the most legs on his turn. If anyone knows of a pub called The Army of Centipedes, let me know, but don’t tell my dad. I want to get my own back.